Impressive display in vain as Sunderland U18s succumb to Manchester United revival
Sunderland made Manchester United fight hard for their third consecutive Under-18 Premier League Northern Division win at a wet and windy Carrington on Saturday, writes Neville Pilkington.
The Wearsiders played well and were in control for much of the first half, and they went ahead with a wonderful team goal after 24 minutes.
A series of fast passes ended with Bali Mumba and Benji Kimpioka playing a one-two which saw Mumba go clear. He could probably have scored himself but unselfishly rolled the ball across to provide Kimpioka (pictured) with a tap-in.
It was nip and tuck for the rest of the half, with Sunderland always dangerous, mainly through Jack Diamond, but, after the break, the young Black Cats came under severe pressure.
They held out until the 64th minute when United’s Nishan Burkat dinked the ball to the far post for Aidan Barlow to score.
Eight minutes later, the home side scored a second goal when Mason Greenwood finished with a strong shot after good work from Ethan Laird and Barlow.
Both Diamond and Jake Hackett were substituted as the pair were needed for yesterday’s Under-23s game, and their replacement rather disrupted the momentum of any potential comeback.
However, Kimpioka still forced a good save as Sunderland fought gamely and then Tom Howard’s super cross just evaded the onrushing attackers with only three minutes left as it ended 2-1 to the hosts.
Sunderland coach Mark Atkinson summed up by saying: “I was pleased with the performance, especially considering we played a third of the match with two Under-16 players –Bali Mumba and Sam Greenwood. It was a great team goal that we scored.”
Manchester Utd U18s: Fojticek, Laird (Mengi 83), Dunne, Barrett, B Williams, O’Connor (Garner 33), McGhee (Mellor 46), Levitt, Barlow, Greenwood; Burkart
Sunderland U18s: Patterson, Evans (Dunne 80), Young, Derbali, Kokola, Hackett (Howard 65), Hickey, Mumba, Best, Kimpioka, Diamond (Greenwood 60). Subs: Woud, Scothern